KS Bancorp, the parent company of KS Bank, headquartered in Smithfield, has responded to a hostile takeover attempt by First Citizens Bank.
First Citizens initially offered $33 per share but have increased the bid to $35 per share of KS bank stock.
“We understand and appreciate First Citizens’ interest in our community bank,” stated Harold T. Keen, President and Chief Executive Officer of KS Bank. “As the only locally-owned and operated community bank left in Johnston County, North Carolina, we provide a level of service and customer satisfaction that other banks in our market cannot. Our excellent customer service and responsiveness to our customers’ needs make us a valuable commodity in an industry dominated by larger institutions that have lost these corporate values.”
“Although we are appreciative of First Citizens’ interest in our organization, their initial Indication of Interest did not rise to a level of pricing that the Board determined to be more beneficial to the KS Bancorp shareholders than the alternative of remaining independent and pursuing our Board adopted strategies.”
“Hostile takeovers are not the norm in the banking industry. We are extremely surprised a $34 billion regional bank would pursue the hostile takeover of a $360 million community savings bank. First Citizens’ corporate actions are evidence that First Citizens’ corporate culture is not in line with KS Bank’s community banking values.”
KS Bank had $368 million in assets at the end of the first quarter of 2017. First Citizens has $34 billion in assets with more than 500 branches in 22 states.
KS Bank has branches in 9 local communities including Smithfield, Selma, Clayton, Four Oaks, Kenly, Garner, Wendell, Wilson and Goldsboro.